It’s time for an afternoon of shoot fights as Ambition returned for Carat weekend, with Fuminori Abe looking to go one better than his finals appearance last year.
AMBITION 14 First Round: Thomas Shire submitted Peter Tihanyi in 2:43 (**¾)
AMBITION 14 First Round: Bobby Gunns defeated Kevin Lloyd via TKO in 5:57 (***¼)
AMBITION 14 First Round: Davey Richards submitted Laurance Roman in 6:11 (***)
AMBITION 14 First Round: Fuminori Abe submitted Fast Time Moodo in 5:14 (***¼)
Patrick Bork submitted Icarus in 3:35 (***¾)
AMBITION 14 Semi-Final: Thomas Shire defeated Bobby Gunns via TKO in 3:58 (**¾)
AMBITION 14 Semi-Final: Fuminori Abe submitted Davey Richards in 4:37 (**¾)
AMBITION 14 Super Fight: Axel Tischer submitted Luke Jacobs in 6:56 (***¾)
AMBITION 14 Final: Fuminori Abe submitted Thomas Shire in 6:29 (***½)
— If you want to catch this before it’s uploaded to Peacock/WWE Network, head over to wXwNOW.de – it’s now been moved over to YouTube after wXw left Vimeo’s platform, so you’ll need to sign-up…
— As a head’s up, there is mention of Davey Richards’ matches below, but no references other than what happened in the matches.
We’re back in the Turbinenhalle for the annual shoot-fight special from wXw… for those uninitiated, these AMBITION matches can only be won by submission, knockout or ref stoppage. In case you’re wondering, we’re running without commentary for this…
AMBITION 14 First Round: Peter Tihanyi vs. Thomas Shire
There’s an obvious size difference at play here, although Tihanyi has some Ambition experience in the form of last year’s Next Generation fight…
Tihanyi circles Shire to start, but the pair head into the ropes from the opening lock-up before Shire spun Tihanyi down. Shire stuffs a takedown attempt, but ends up getting tripped with a single leg from the Hungarian, before Tihanyi escaped a waistlock takedown and came back with a kick. Shire almost loses to a TKO from that, but gets back up in time to take a barrage of strikes… then elbow down Tihanyi in one shot. Uppercuts from Shire bounce Tihanyi off the ropes, as a front kick took him down to his knees… Shire pulls Tihanyi up for the UFO, but Tihanyi slips out, only to get tripped down for a match-winning Texas Cloverleaf. Brief, but Shire was able to stop Tihanyi from getting into his game. **¾
AMBITION 14 First Round: Kevin Lloyd vs. Bobby Gunns
Lloyd’s not had much luck at these Ambitions…
We open with a handshake, as Gunns stuffs a takedown attempt before Lloyd looked for an armbar. Gunns tries to escape bodyscissors, but Lloyd keeps control before the pair reset. Kicks from Gunns look to sting Lloyd, who’s taken down again before Gunns got to the ropes as Lloyd was going for a chinlock. Gunns pulls ahead with an ankle lock, but Lloyd manages to roll them into the ropes to prevent further damage. Lloyd tries to take down Gunns, but Bobby’s got the leg and rolls Lloyd into a half crab… albeit right by the ropes for a break.
Changing it up, Gunns throws an uppercut, only to get taken down in a side headlock… with the ropes saving him. Lloyd’s able to roll Gunns down into a leg lock, but Bobby makes the ropes once more as Lloyd tries his luck with a side headlock… only to get thrown down with a Saito suplex. Returning, Lloyd goes back to the leg, but again the ropes save Gunns ahead of an overhead belly-to-belly… but Gunns is back up for a German suplex as a headbutt then sank Lloyd, who was unable to answer the 10-count from there. ***¼
AMBITION 14 First Round: Laurance Roman vs. Davey Richards
Much like Kevin Lloyd earlier, Roman’s not had the best form at these Ambition tournaments.
Roman starts by taking a kick as the pair looked for a lock-up, only for Roman to get taken down and smothered on the mat. He escapes into the ropes to break a cravat, but got met with knee strikes on the break as Tassilo Jung called for some separation. A leg grapevine’s stuffed as Roman again rolls to the ropes, only to get grounded once more with a chinlock. Roman gets the back, looking for a rear naked choke which ends in the ropes, before Roman had to defend some palm strikes. A takedown has Roman back on the deck for some headscissors, before he’s punched in the ribs. Defending the mount, Roman looks to close distance, but ends up giving his arm before he swivelled into the mount as the pair continued to go back-and-forth.
A kick to the thigh sees Roman back off, only to get pulled back down to the mat. More shots targeting the ribs softened up Roman, whose almost desperation takedown managed to get him in for a cross armbar. That’s escaped as Roman has to defend a half crab, which turns into a STF before the ropes saved Roman. In the end though, Roman’s pulled down into an ankle lock… and that’s too much for him to withstand. ***
AMBITION 14 First Round: Fast Time Moodo vs. Fuminori Abe
This was Abe’s second year running in Ambition, having lost in the finals to Bobby Gunns last year.
Both men feinted with kicks early, as Moodo’s fan was getting shouted down. Abe catches a kick and trips Moodo, floating over for a side headlock before an attempt to go for Moodo’s leg ended with the pair rolling into the ropes. There’s a cheeky kick from Abe on the break, as we then upgrade to forearms, before Abe baited in Moodo for a Dragon screw. A spinning kick into the corner allows Abe to roll down Moodo for a toe hold, which Moodo punched away ahead of him grabbing a triangle choke. Elbows to the head of Abe didn’t seem to have much effect as Abe switches for a cross armbar, forcing Moodo into the ropes for a break.
Moodo kicks back at Abe as he was given a dead arm, and those kicks looked to have some effect too as he was able to land a Judo throw to take down Abe. More kicks follow as Moodo kept wrist control, only for Abe to catch one and pull Moodo down into an ankle lock. It’s switched into a release German suplex before Moodo kicked away an Irabu punch… prompting Abe to run in with a manjigatame to force the submission. ***¼
Icarus vs. Patrick Bork
Bork is a trainer at the Gelsenkirchen Fight Club – where wXw is also based these days – and this was the first taste of crossover action between the two Alma Park residents.
Bork charged in at Icarus, throwing him down with a German suplex… then tripping him into an ankle lock as Icarus dove for the rope. The presence of AMBOSS and Thorsten Legat in the relevant corners at ringside gave this one a bigger-fight-feel, almost like things could erupt. Resetting, Icarus looks for a clinch, but ends up backing Bork into the ropes, where a kick to the ribs threatened to spark furore from the GMC corner. Returning to the ring, Bork kicks at Icarus’ legs, only to get his leg swept as Icarus returned the German suplex from earlier. Another kick from Icarus forces Tassilo Jung to separate the pair, while Icarus looked to come back with a Kimura.
Icarus elbows away Bork, as things broke down into strikes, with Bork charging into a knee strike as Icarus went for a Kimura. Bork slips out and throws some strikes from above, then waffled Icarus with a head kick before an ankle lock eventually forced the submission. ***¾
Of course we’ve got some afters, as Dan Mallmann came in to interview Bork, who thanked everyone as Icarus and AMBOSS licked their wounds in the corner. Bork called this a “good first step,” and teased a “normal match” down the line before he celebrated in the corner. That was enough to annoy Robert Dreissker, who pulled Bork out of the corner as all hell threatened to break loose… and I know we’re nine months away, but just imagine how molten AMBOSS vs. the GMC lads would be in a Käfigschlacht?
AMBITION 14 Semi-Final: Thomas Shire vs. Bobby Gunns
Our first semi-final opens with a handshake…
…then swiftly moved to Shire trying to take down Gunns. That’s stuffed as Gunns goes for a cross armbar, breaking it to kick Shire in the back as we reset. A single-leg takedown from Gunns is blocked as Shire grabbed a front chancery, then threw an uppercut to knock Gunns into the corner. A waistlock attempt from Gunns is elbowed away, as he then tried for a kick, only for Shire to catch it and take him down. Gunns finds a way through with those kicks as we get a standing ten-count, which Shire barely answers before Gunns locked in a rear naked choke. It’s clung onto despite Shire’s back suplex, before Gunns got thrown aside… then thrown into a pop-up powerbomb for the TKO. Not quite a popular result, but with Gunns having a much bigger match later on that day, perhaps the smart call from referee Felix Schulz. **¾
AMBITION 14 Semi-Final: Fuminori Abe vs. Davey Richards
Looking to make it to at least back-to-back finale, Abe started by going for a clinch, only to get pulled down to the mat.
Abe spins into the mount, but doesn’t get off any shots as he instead has to slip out from a chinlock as we reset. Kicks are exchanged, with one catching Abe’s shoulder before things went to ground. Duelling heel hooks end in the ropes, before back-and-forth kicks ended with Abe being taken down for a Kimura. The ropes save Abe, who’s spun down with a Dragon screw… a second one’ countered into a cross armbar, before Abe had to defend an ankle lock… then a PK. Back-and-forth strikes lead to an Irabu punch from Abe, who then moved into a manjigatame for the submission. **¾
AMBITION Super Fight: Luke Jacobs vs. Axel Tischer
Three years after being at AMBITION in a next-generation fight against tag partner Ethan Allen, Luke Jacobs is back on the card…
Jacobs looks to take the initiative in this one, going for Tischer’s arm only for the pair to back up into the ropes for a break. Another clinch ends in the ropes, with Jacobs looking to rough up Tischer on the break as referee Felix Schulz admonished both men. A head and arm choke attempt from Tischer’s stopped as Jacobs throws some shots to the ribs, before a snap belly-to-belly takedown had Tischer ahead. Tischer goes for a Kimura, which Jacobs tries to throw off before he resorted to more shots to the ribs and ultimately a German suplex. Another one follows, before Tischer broke in the ropes… and got clubbed in the head after the referee separated the pair.
Tischer fights back, but a pair of gut shots downed him for the standing ten-count, which is answered, before the pair traded forearms. Uppercuts follow as they mix it up, but Jacobs is properly leathering Tischer here, who’s covering up before he ate a right hand. Tischer’s up at the count of nine, although with some question marks, as he’s able to knee, then kick away Jacobs seconds later. The pair trade palm strikes after that, forcing Tischer to try and go for a takedown… that misses, just like a Superman punch, as another German suplex from Jacobs led to a wicked lariat. Cue another standing ten-count, which Tischer dives into the ropes to break, as Jacobs was perhaps getting a little ahead of himself. A kick to the inner thigh led to a rear naked choke, but Tischer breaks free and hammered Luke with knees ahead of a half hatch suplex, then a guillotine choke.
Knees from Tischer set Jacobs into the corner, but Luke’s back with a folding powerbomb, as he then dove on Tischer with a leaping forearm. The referee separates the pair, then ultimately didn’t even start a ten-count, which was extremely dubious after Tischer had barely beaten the ten counts earlier. We continue though, and quickly end as Tischer pulled Jacobs into a heel hook for the submission. That didn’t feel like a good decision, given Tischer probably should have lost via TKO, and judging by those boos I wasn’t the only one in that camp. When you’re playing at home, the refs give decisions your way, eh! ***¾
AMBITION 14 Final: Fuminori Abe vs. Thomas Shire
It’s a second final in a row for Abe, but the surprise package Thomas Shire might well derail him… and judging by the reductions in entrance gear as he progressed through the tournament, I’m glad this is the last round!
Handshakes start us off as Abe gets tripped up by Shire, who looked to tie him up only for Abe to come back and cling on with a cravat. Back to his feet, Shire breaks the hold and applied a cravat of his own, before Abe took him into the ropes with some headscissors. Abe returns with a chinlock, having snapmared Shire down, before a Japanese stranglehold from Shire was reversed. Shire hits back with a Saito suplex, which Abe had to answer a standing ten-count on, before he got pulled into the middle of the ring with a Figure Four leglock.
Abe rolls over to reverse the hold, stopping to do press-ups before Shire rolled it back over, prompting the pair to exchange slaps ahead of an eventual roll into the ropes. From the break, Shire looks for another Saito suplex, but Abe blocked it as an Irabu punch attempt just got him caught in a full nelson. Shire keeps reapplying the hold, then hauled Abe down for a German suplex… only for Abe to pop right back up with the Irabu punch. The pair switch up with strikes afterwards, with Abe punching Shire in the head before another manjigatame was thrown aside. Abe’s kicked in the head as he’s spun to the mat with a UFO… which looked to get Shire the win. Shire looks to add a powerbomb, but Abe slips out and applies the manjigatame, dragging Shire to the mat for the eventual submission. Shire looked real good throughout the tournament, but Abe’s Octopus hold has been damn near unbeatable in Ambition – and ensured he left Germany with some silverware of his own this weekend. ***½
AMBITION can be a bit of a dry watch if you’re not into shoot-style wrestling – but even if this isn’t your bag, drop by to check out that wXw vs. GMC match, as the atmosphere around it felt somewhat special, and could be the seedlings of something much bigger between the two companies.